Where bikepacking meets binoculars – Introducing the East Devon Trail

A white female gravel cyclist descends some gravel doubletrack
(Image credit: ForTheHellOfIt.cc)

The East Devon Trail is a brand new 185km (115-mile) bikepacking route that’s just been unveiled in the south west of England, taking in the county’s capital of Exeter and neighboring Dorset and Somerset. It features the best that Devon has to offer, taking in a mixture of freshwater marshes, lowland heath, green agricultural field networks, steep cliffs, pebbled beaches and ancient woodlands. 

If you've been looking for an excuse to load up your bike with the best bikepacking bags and head out on an adventure, then this might be next on your list.

It was devised by Devon local Katherine Moore — a cycling writer with a zoology degree and background in agriculture — and in partnership with local stakeholders, including Devon Wildlife Trust, Wild East Devon, the Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and East Devon AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

A white male bikepacker rides through a river crossing

(Image credit: ForTheHellOfIt.cc)

The East Devon Trail traverses a multitude of nature reserves, and aims to showcase the county’s wildlife and the plentiful support provided by local organizations; think rare lowland heath, migratory bird service stations, species reintroduction programs, and the many gravel tracks and accompanying views that surround them. 

Unlike some trails, the East Devon Trail is not designed with speed or FKTs (fastest known times) in mind, and it instead sets out to provide a different type of bikepacking experience. This route is about slowing down and enjoying the views, discovering local flora and fauna, and experiencing quiet life in the countryside. The route travels through quaint thatched villages, tearooms offering cream teas, fish and chips on the beach, and farm shops selling local produce.

In order to be as accessible as possible, the East Devon Trail starts and finishes at Exeter railway station, and can be linked up with other established bikepacking routes like the Wessex Ridgeway and the Old Chalk Way.

A white male gravel biker is riding towards the camera on a gravel track

(Image credit: ForTheHellOfIt.cc)

The creators of the trail ask that riders who enjoy it for free, consider donating to the local FORCE Cancer Charity to help fund their vital work. In addition to local stakeholder partnerships, Komoot and Outdoor Provisions provided generous support to the project. You can find more information on the East Devon Trail website, follow on Instagram, and access the Komoot collection for the route gpx files.

Mildred Locke
Freelance writer

Mildred previously worked as a review writer for Bike Perfect. She enjoys everything from road cycling to mountain biking, but is a utilitarian cyclist at heart. Determined to do everything on two wheels, she's even moved house by bike, and can regularly be found pedaling around Bristol and its surrounding areas. She’s spent over four years volunteering as a mechanic and workshop coordinator at the Bristol Bike Project, and now sits on its board of directors. Her expertise comes from previously working in a bike shop and learning the ins and outs of the industry, and she's previously written for a variety of cycling publications, including Bikeradar, Cycling Plus, Singletrack, Red Bull, Cycling UK and Total Women's Cycling. At home on slicks and knobblies alike, her ideal ride covers long distances through remote countryside, on mixed terrain that offers a bit of crunch, followed by a gourmet campfire meal and an overnight bivvy beneath the stars.

Rides: Stayer Groadinger UG, Triban RC520 Women's Disc, Genesis Flyer, Marin Larkspur, Cotic BFe 26, Clandestine custom bike

Height: 156cm (5'2")

Weight: 75kg